BOSTON — Running unopposed in November and with little to no business to conduct during the final three months of the 2011-2012 legislative session, two thirds of state senators can look forward to a quiet fall and holiday season before sliding back into office Jan. 2.
Aside from the outcomes of three races for open seats and a handful of potentially competitive campaigns being waged by Republican challengers, the 2012 state Senate elections are shaping up as snoozers across Massachusetts. Districts including more than 4.4 million residents have only one candidate on the ballot.
Senate President Therese Murray’s rematch against tough opponent Tom Keyes, and the battle of Andover between Sen. Barry Finegold and Rep. Paul Adams, and former school teacher Dean Cavaretta’s bid to oust Sen. Jamie Eldridge are three of the races GOP party officials say warrant attention.
Republicans hold only four of the 40 seats in the Senate, but the GOP is fielding challengers in only eight districts and one of its members – Sens. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth – is among the 10 incumbents who are being challenged this year.
Twenty-four Senate Democrats and three Senate Republicans are running unopposed on Nov. 6.
“It’s tough to run for the state Senate generally because of the larger nature of the district and it costs more money to get your name out there. But we have some good candidates out there who are willing to put their names on the ballot,” said Peter Blute, the former Congressman and state representative and current deputy chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.
Blute said Republicans can realistically hope to pick up three or four state Senate seats across the state as he named six candidates whose chances the party is enthusiastic about. “It’s a tough election year. All presidential years swell somewhat more blue than gubernatorial years,” Blute said.